Governor Pence has proclaimed March 15 through 21, 2015 as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana.
The National Weather Service (NWS), in conjunction with the Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Broadcasters Association, American Red Cross, and Amateur Radio operators will conduct statewide tests of communication systems Thursday, March 19 at 10:15 a.m. and 7:35 p.m. ET.
IMO SKYWARN Quadrant Two will participate in both tests by standing up nets on the ACARTS 146.88 MHz repeater in Fort Wayne. Should the 146.88 MHz repeater be unavailable or exhibiting performance issues, the nets will take place on the back-up frequency of 146.76 MHz (the FWRC repeater). During the nets, net control station (NCS) operators will solicit check-ins. Each net will begin after the NWS issues test tornado warnings.
As Quadrant Two director for IMO SKYWARN, I encourage all stations to check into these nets from anywhere in the quadrant and to send simulated spotter reports, in a fashion similar to the ARRL’s annual simulated emergency test (SET).
This will also provide an opportunity to practice the quadrant net’s desired call-in procedure, which is for the reporting station make a single, short transmission containing the station’s call sign and one or two words describing the phenomena the station needs to report. For example:
“Whiskey nine Lima whiskey, wind damage.”
Stations should not include the words, “net control” or the NCS call sign in their calls. These are unnecessary, because during a directed net, the NCS will assume all calls are for the NCS.
When acknowledged by the NCS, the reporting station should make a “T.E.L.” (Time, Event, Location) report in a single transmisison, for example:
“One zero one five Eastern, shingles blown off a one-story house, Allen County, Indiana, one point five miles northeast of New Haven, TEST MESSAGE, whiskey nine Lima whiskey.”
A station relaying a report from another net should add the report source, for example:
“One zero one five Eastern, shingles blown off a one-story house, Allen County, Indiana, one point five miles northeast of New Haven, reported by trained spotter kilo Charlie nine x-ray alpha bravo, TEST MESSAGE, whiskey nine Lima whiskey.”
Because these are tests, stations should make up any phenomena they wish, but I encourage all stations to use their actual locations at the time of the tests, so we can log the geographic coverage the net would have at those times.
Also, as in the ARRL SET, during Thursday’s tornado test, stations should include the words, “test message” in their reports, to avoid confusion by any citizens who might be monitoring the nets. Those words would of course not be used during a real SKYWARN net.
Important: The NWS will begin each test by transmitting a message over the Emergency Alert System (EAS) with product code “TOR” (tornado warning). This might result in normal activation of NOAA weather radios, cellular telephone Wireless Emergency Alerts, etc. Make sure your family members, friends and co-workers realize this will happen.
Officials will postpone the tests to Friday, March 20 if weather conditions warrant.